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Asharq Al-Awsat
Asharq Al-Awsat
Cairo - Asharq Al-Awsat

Hamas Begins Consultations in Cairo, Egypt Seeks to Stop Escalation

Hamas's leader Ismail Haniyeh received Egyptian officials in Gaza City. (File Photo: AFP)

The Hamas delegation kicked off intensive consultations with Egyptian security officials after Ismail Haniyeh, the head of the movement's politburo, arrived in Cairo.

An informed Egyptian source said that Cairo is determined to move forward with its plan to achieve calm, adding that the consultations with Hamas, and the Jihad movement ahead of it, come within that aim.

The source, who asked not to be named, told Asharq Al-Awsat that Egyptian officials insisted on the presence of the Hamas delegation, despite the recent operation carried out by Israeli forces in the West Bank, during which five Palestinians were killed, including members of Hamas armed forces.

The source stressed that the operation would not affect Hamas consultations in Cairo, noting that Egypt continues its contact with the various parties, including Palestinian factions, the Palestinian Authority, and Israel, in coordination with high-ranking Jordanian officials.

More than 35 Palestinians have been killed during the clashes between the Palestinians and Israeli forces since the beginning of this year, according to Palestinian human rights reports.

About 10 Israelis were killed in separate shootings in Jerusalem.

The source explained that Egypt is racing against time to stop any escalation that may lead to more bloodshed, pointing out that the recent days witnessed a relative improvement from the Israeli government.

He indicated that officials were trying to ensure that the situation does not escalate into an open confrontation with the Palestinian factions, which some hard-line groups in the Israeli government want.

The source asserted that Egypt's contacts with all Palestinian factions were ongoing, adding that Cairo stood at the same distance from the various parties, seeking to coordinate efforts and prevent further deterioration.

Egypt invited the Jihad and Hamas leaders to hold consultative meetings in Cairo to achieve calm in the occupied territories and prevent the current escalation from reaching the Gaza Strip.

Over the past few days, Egyptian security officials held intensive meetings with leaders of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and with Israeli officials in Tel Aviv to stop the escalation and ensure calm in the territories.

The head of the Egyptian intelligence service, Minister Abbas Kamel, and the head of the Jordanian intelligence service, Ahmed Hosni, delivered a letter of "support and solidarity" to President Mahmoud Abbas, in Ramallah, from President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and King Abdullah II of Jordan.

The Jihad delegation concluded its visit to Cairo on Tuesday, headed by Secretary-General Ziad al-Nakhala.

The movement said that Nakhala met with several Egyptian officials and held an official meeting with Kamel as part of Cairo's attempts to contain the situation and ensure calm in the Palestinian territories.

The movement said that the discussions focused on the situation in the West Bank and Jerusalem, and the political developments, stressing the importance of achieving national unity to confront the Israeli government.

In recent years, Egypt reached a cease-fire agreement between the Israeli occupation forces and the Palestinian factions in Gaza, the latest of which was in August and December 2021.

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